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Australian Muslim History

Australian Muslim History

Muslim fisherman from Makassar in Southern Sulawesi, Indonesia made annual visits to Australia from at least the 17th century CE

Muslim fisherman from Makassar in Southern Sulawesi, Indonesia made annual visits to Australia from at least the 17th century CE. These Makassan’s influenced Indigenous peoples of Northern Australia as evidenced in their language, art and business dealings which carry linguistic and ritual legacies of the association.

In the 19th century, men from Afghanistan, India and Pakistan arrived in Australia to work in transportation, exploration, mining and the supply of provisions to homesteads. Often expert cameleers, these men collectively known as ‘Afghans’, made contributions of crucial importance in the building a new nation.

During the mid-20th century, the need for migrant workers flourished as Australia’s economy developed. Consequently, Turkish, Albanian, Bosnian and Lebanese people migrated to undertake a vast proportion of blue collar jobs, furthering the nation’s manufacturing industries. Their pursuit of a new home and future for their families formed the building blocks for Australia’s vibrant multicultural society.

Today, Australian Muslims continue to contribute this country, their prominence in the domains of business, arts, politics, sports and media continues to grow, while representing less than 2 percent of Australia’s population.